Yes I am in a corporate box. And yes there are large groups of people around me chatting and socializing. And yes I am standing by myself; alone. I believe there is a metaphor in everything, and that this was no accident. Being a poet doesn't mean you're always going to fit in. People aren't always going to take you seriously. People say poetry doesn't save lives, or build buildings, or bakes cakes, or influence politics. People say poetry is useless. Whilst I like to network at social events I found it very hard tonight. People will generally gravitate to you if they see you as a person of influence at these big events. And clearly in their eyes I was not. Poetry isn't important enough. Well I'll show you. And I'm coming for you first Auckland Council. I'll show you that poetry is the most effective public policy influencing mechanism out there. I dream that poetry will one day influence elections, transform democracy and implement public policies. I am going to post a poem tomorrow night so bare with my friends.
✨ MAY HIGHLIGHT ✨: Our new kids show, Spinderella went up at the #AucklandWritersFestival !! 😎 Thank you @aklwritersfest for having us. Spinderella MC and his crew will be back in August! Stay posted for more information
So guess who was lucky enough to get to go see Ngugi wa Thiong’o talking with Kubé Jones-Neill at @aklwritersfest? Meeeee!! (what sort of amazing lecturer gives out free tickets for world-class literary events as rewards for A grades?!)
Ngugi is not just a bloody great writer, but also a human rights champion who spends his life and work grappling with the post-colonial experience. Described as the Kenyan Mandela, he literally wrote one of his most powerful novels on TOILET PAPER inside a MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON that he was thrown in just for using his voice and work to protest injustice.
Anyway... Ngugi spent quite a bit of time talking about the weaponised racism of colonialism, in particular specific destructive acts like the destroying of native language to create a barrier between the people and their culture - thus creating a barrier between them and their identity. As he was speaking in NZ, and has spent some time in the country previously, he talked about parallels between the Kenyan experience and the experiences and struggles of tāngata Māori to retain their taonga (both tangible and intangible) under Pākehā colonialism.
Now, about 90% of the audience was made up of old white people (which, I guess, is par for the course when something’s on during the work/uni day) who were all listening intently and nodding along - and I started to actually get rather pissed off. I do not believe for a single second that none of those people are complicit in upholding colonial Pākehā racism in this country. I’m not saying that there aren’t some Silent Gen and Baby Boomers who are genuinely woke, but I can definitely say that the majority aren’t - just look at voting polls and results in those demographics. So seeing all those people nodding along like ‘oh, yes, racism, so very bad, that poor man’, when I KNOW that a lot of them commit micro-aggressions and racial profiling etc (at the very least) in their day to day life, got me boiling. CONTINUED IN COMMENTS ⬇️⬇️⬇️
The buzz of the #AWF18 Festival Gala Night: True Stories Told Live:Under Cover matched with the hum of a well-crafted 🍷 #centralotagopinotnoir#nzwine . Salute to brilliantly told true stories without prop or script by Susie Boyt (England), Lisa Dwan (Ireland), Gigi Fenster (South Africa/NZ), Alex Ross (US), Damon Salesa (Samoa/ NZ), Tom Scott(NZ), Shashi Tharoor (India) and Jenny Zhang (US). 🍷🍷
“Nook people are those of us who need solitude, but also the sound of someone puttering in the next room.”
Met the powerful and wise @durgapolashi yesterday at @aklwritersfest yesterday. Too Much and Not the Mood is such a pleasure to read, like getting to know a new friend you know you’ll have for life
In the bus on the way home from #aucklandwritersfestival having had the absolute pleasure of spending time with @jesseblackadder over the last few days. So many fabulous writers and readers!! #amreading